CHRISTMAS SONGS

50. John Fahey

The First Noel

Tiring of the fact that no one wanted to buy albums of experimental American primitive guitar music, but they bought White Christmas every year, John Fahey recorded an album of Christmas instrumentals. It was, by a margin, his bestselling record. Atypical of his work, but beautiful.

49. The Sonics

Don’t Believe in Christmas

The Sonics believed some folks liked the taste of straight strychnine, so of course they didn’t believe in Christmas. What happened when they stayed up late to try to catch a glimpse of Santa? “Well, sure enough, don’t ya know / The fat boy didn’t show.” Cheeky so-and-sos.

48. Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler

Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing)

Sounding much more like Ash than Emmy the Great – and the loudest, most raucous thing on their 2011 Christmas album – this is a song that sounds joyous, but is really about the desire to escape, to anywhere that isn’t cold. So long as it’s not alone.

47. Little Joey Farr

Rock’n’Roll Christmas

Rock’n’roll and rockabilly are a treasure trove of Christmas novelty numbers (try Marlene Paula’s I Want To Spend Xmas with Elvis), but we’ve only got room for one. So, given Christmas is all about the kids, bless their souls, let’s have a song by an actual kid who promptly disappeared from the pop world.

46. Lou Rawls

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town

One imagines this would be the soundtrack to Don Draper’s Christmas – as creamy as eggnog, with a supple swing that’s nagging but not unobtrusive, it’s exactly the sound of an idealised Christmas from the 60s. Rawls made a ton of Christmas albums, but his first from 1967 is the best.

45. Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo & Simon Wright

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

How would Christmas sound reimagined by Black Sabbath? Almost exactly as you would imagine, to be honest. The most oddly foreboding of all the big Christmas songs suits the grinding and roaring. And it helps, naturally, that it contains a reference to “Satan’s power”.

44. Saint Etienne

I Was Born on Christmas Day

From fire and brimstone to prosecco and chocolate, bursting with optimism for the winter: “Getting groovy after Halloween / Mid-November, got back on the scene / I’m so glad that I just got my pay / I was born on Christmas Day!” A song as sweet as a selection box.

43. The Free Design

Close Your Mouth (It’s Christmas)

Probably the song that goes on in Don Draper’s apartment after Lou Rawls, when the hip young kids have arrived. “Get to know the people in your house,” they sing. “You might like them.” Draper knocks back a whisky, raises an eyebrow and shakes his head.

42. Sally Shapiro

Anorak Christmas

A gorgeous bauble from the mid-00s wave of Scandinavian music that crossed electropop with the feyest indie. Sally falls in love on a Tuesday before Christmas, “at a gig with a band that we both liked”. But will she end up by herself “or in the perfect kiss”?

41. Solomon Burke

Presents for Christmas

The king of rock’n’soul pitches himself somewhere between a revivalist preacher and Santa Claus: “We want to give out a present to everybody this Christmas! All around the world for every man, woman, boy and girl!” he exclaims in the intro. One of the few artists whose spoken sections routinely rival the songs (track down a copy of Soul Alive! if you don’t believe me).

40. Joy Zipper

Christmas Song

Blank-faced and affectless, here’s Christmas for the shoegazers from the duo briefly toasted at the start of the last decade. Kevin Shields and David Holmes produced, and you can bet Beach House were listening.

39. Neil Halstead

The Man in the Santa Suit

Truthfully, this version is only here because the Fountains of Wayne original – an homage to the Kinks’ Father Christmas – isn’t on Spotify. But what a perfect, sad song: “And he’s a big red cherry / But it’s hard to be merry / When the kids are all laughing / Saying: ‘Hey, it’s Jerry Garcia.’”

38. The Everly Brothers

Christmas Eve Can Kill You

The Man in the Santa Suit is a laughfest compared to this Everly Brothers number from 1972, about a hitcher alone the night before Christmas. Organ and pedal steel sound like the wind whistling through the trees as our hero trudges on: “The sound of one man walkin’ through the snow can break your heart.”

37. Santo & Johnny

Twistin’ Bells

Do we need cheering up? I think we do. Thank goodness, then, for the twangy guitars of Brooklyn duo Santo & Johnny, the gaudy, overlit shop window that contrasts with the stark loneliness of the Everly Brothers.

36. Run-DMC

Christmas in Hollis

Hip-hop hasn’t been a huge source of Christmas songs, but Run-DMC were on top of it back in the first golden age. What would you do if you found Santa’s wallet on Hollis Avenue? It’s a perennial question. Run decides its best to post it back; he is rewarded for his honesty.

35. Shirley & Dolly Collins

The Gower Wassail

Two of the greatest British folk voices combine for a drinking song that, if we’re honest, is unlikely to be ringing out in pubs this Christmas. The asceticism of the British folk tradition can be a useful astringent amid the sleigh bells and tinsel.

34. Tracey Thorn

Snow in Sun

Originally from Scritti Politti’s sublime 2006 album White Bread, Black Beer and reworked by Thorn on her gorgeous album Tinsel and Lights – which is enough to qualify it as a Christmas song – here is a featherlight breath of winter to freshen your face.

33. Mahalia Jackson

Go Tell It on the Mountain

You can’t really have Christmas without acknowledging that someone significant was born on 25 December – and not just Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne. The queen of gospel wants you to spread the news far and wide, and she imparts her message with due gravitas.

32. Big Star

Jesus Christ

Big Star’s Third is the least likely album to contain a Christmas song, but amid the desperation and despair was this huge burst of fervour. Did Alex Chilton mean it? Was it a joke? Its effect is magnified by the music that surrounds it on the rest of the album.

31. Calexico

Green Grows the Holly

Gorgeous and stern, and undoubtedly the best adaptation by an Americana band of any poem written by Henry VIII. The horns bloom, like the flowers of the song, turning something indisputably English into a desert lament.

30. Jimmy McGriff

Winter Wonderland

McGriff opens with a squall of organ that doesn’t lead you to believe Christmas is coming anytime soon, then takes Winter Wonderland at such a leisurely pace that it takes a moment to recognise it. (If you like this, try Jimmy Smith’s Christmas ’64 as well.)

29. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects

When you live in poverty, certain logistical problems come to mind. Namely, if you’re in a big public housing block, how does Santa get the presents underneath the tree? A fabulous addition to the long line of socially conscious soul and funk Christmas music.

28. Sons of Heaven

When Was Jesus Born?

We all know the answer, but when it’s posed this beautifully, in such impeccable close harmony, the obviousness of the question can be forgiven. There are many versions of this, but it’s a hard song to do anything but beautifully.

27. Thea Gilmore

Listen, the Snow Is Falling

Yoko Ono’s is the original version and Galaxie 500’s rendition is more celebrated, but Thea Gilmore gets the perfect ratio of iciness to wonder – it sounds like a Christmas tree, if such a thing were possible. The 2009 album Strange Communion is highly recommended.

26. The Temptations

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Oh, wrap yourself in the blanket of those glorious voices! Motown took Christmas seriously, with the result that you could probably do this list entirely from Motown tracks. This one gets selected because what is really a fairly dismal song is transformed by a perfect arrangement.

25. Clarence Carter

Back Door Santa

Pure Christmas filth. Back Door Santa can “make all the little girls happy / While the boys are out to play.” But don’t mistake him for Father Christmas: “I ain’t like old Saint Nick / He don’t come but once a year.” I dare you not to dance, though.

24. Ramones

Danny Says

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) is better known as a Ramones Christmas song, but the sublime Danny Says gets the nod, qualifying on the grounds that the desperate, lonely band are stuck on the road deep in winter and “it ain’t Christmas if there ain’t no snow”.

23. Cristina

Things Fall Apart

No matter how bad your Christmas is, it’s not as bad as Cristina’s. Mind you, given it’s the early 80s New York art underground, she was probably forbidden from liking something so bourgeois. Even a party can’t cheer her: “I caught a cab back to my flat / And wept a bit and fed the cat.”

22. Joni Mitchell

River

Joni Mitchell is bereft, too, on this gorgeous piano ballad, when Christmas just makes her mourn her relationship and flee Laurel Canyon for her home in Canada, where there might be a frozen river she could skate away on, away from everything.

21. David Banner

The Christmas Song

Completing the mini-run of joyless Christmases, here’s the most joyless of all – when the only way to pay for Christmas is to rob and deal and kill. The climactic “jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way” is not intended as cause for celebration.

20. Lindstrøm

Little Drummer Boy

Hans-Peter Lindstrøm takes almost 43 minutes to assemble a Christmas song – from electronic squiggles, through the martial drumbeat, to the melody coming in at eight minutes. It then spends a further 25 minutes warping and mutating, picking up and discarding musical phrases, before exploding orgasmically in its final 10 minutes or so.

19. William Bell

Every Day Will Be a Holiday

It doesn’t actually mention Christmas, but gets counted – and not just by me – as a Christmas song because of the little horn lift from Jingle Bells, for it being about being lonely waiting for his baby to come home (presumably for Christmas), and because its B-side was Please Come Home For Christmas. It’s also a fabulous piece of Stax soul.

18. Belle and Sebastian

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

On the 2000 charity album It’s a Cool Cool Christmas – which was pretty strong – Belle and Sebastian took on the most beautiful of all the Christmas hymns. Something so delicate suited them. Also recommended: El Vez merging Feliz Navidad and Public Image.

17. The Staple Singers

Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?

The Staple Singers are worried: too many wars, too much space exploration means people are “searching for light and can’t seem to find the right star”. Jesus isn’t just another baby boy, they warn. So show some respect. Glorious.

16. The Watersons

Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy

Just listen to the voices: this is Christmas as it must have sounded when it was a religious festival in the depths of winter, rather than an excuse to rack up debt. Make your own fun! Maybe weave an Action Man out of three pieces of straw! And yet it’s so beautiful.

15. Eartha Kitt

Santa Baby

We’re into the start of the big songs now, and Eartha Kitt’s contribution is the precise opposite of the Watersons’ vision of Christmas. She wants a sable, a convertible, a yacht, a platinum mine … She wants every sensation. And what’s Jesus got to do with anything?

14. Otis Redding

White Christmas

Who knew the most famous Christmas hit of all could be so emotionally wrought? Where Bing Crosby sounded as if he was fondly pondering his Christmas, Otis sounds like he’s breaking into a sweat trying to will it into existence through sheer force of desire.

13. The Pretenders

2000 Miles

Sometimes simple is best: Robbie McIntosh’s guitar playing on the Pretenders’ 1984 hit is a model of folk-rock restraint, taking from the Byrds, and offsetting Chrissie Hynde’s voice and lyric with a sense that everything, somehow, is going to be OK.

12. Bob Seger and the Last Heard

Sock It to Me Santa

“Santa’s got a brand new bag!” hollers Bob Seger, who was a Detroit R&B shouter years before he became a heartland American beard rocker. Sock It to Me Santa is a fabulous explosion – garage rock and soul brought together into something made for the best bar in the city on Christmas Eve.

11. Wham!

Last Christmas

A big Christmas hit that was unlike previous UK seasonal singles – it wasn’t wrapped in sleigh bells, there was nothing consciously novelty about it. Perhaps George Michael had been paying close attention to some of the great US Christmas soul singles, because this was a heartbreak song that just happened to be set in December.

10. Darlene Love

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

A Christmas Gift to You from Phil Spector codified the sound of Christmas: maximal, filled with signifiers of the season (there is nowhere sleigh bells can’t be draped). Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) was the standout on a record on which the quality didn’t drop from start to finish.

9. Wizzard

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Roy Wood’s enduring contribution to the season owed a huge debt to Phil Spector – there’s almost certainly a kitchen sink section at work somewhere in the mix – but it transcends imitation by its sheer verve. It was recorded in summer, with the studio air conditioning turned down to make everyone feel wintry. Attention to detail, right there.

8. Slade

Merry Xmas Everybody

Christmas 1973 brought not just Wizzard but the most enduring of all British Christmas singles. Forty-six years later, people still bellow “It’s CHRISTMAS!” in Noddy Holder’s face, which, apparently, gets a little wearisome. The whole thing was Jim Lea’s mum’s idea – why didn’t Slade have a song they could release every year? She got her wish.

7. Donny Hathaway

This Christmas

It wasn’t a hit at the time, but took off when it was included on a 1991 reissue of the 1968 Atco compilation Soul Christmas. To which you can only say: why did it take the world so long to notice? It’s a Christmas song that stands up regardless of the season. And according to the publishing body Ascap, it’s now the 30th most performed Christmas song of all time in the US.

6. Tom Waits

Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

Probably not one to play when you’re unwrapping the presents. A character study that begins grimly, then offers hope, as the narrator says things are getting better – before ripping the rug away without ceremony. Do you want to know the truth of it, she asks: “Charley, hey, I’ll be eligible for parole come Valentine’s day.”

5. Marvin Gaye

Purple Snowflakes

A song so beautiful it’s almost otherworldly – Marvin Gaye’s flawless falsetto, the unexpected chord changes, the sense of mystery. Yet it’s wrapped up in the most comforting of Christmas imagery – chestnuts roasting, blankets of white – without ever explaining why the snowflakes are purple.

4. The Waitresses

Christmas Wrapping

Like Cristina’s Things Fall Apart, Christmas Wrapping was originally written for the Zé label’s 1981 compilation – the most punching-above-its-weight Christmas comp ever. It’s a fabulous stream of consciousness, during which Patty Donahue talks herself from wanting to miss Christmas to knowing she can’t miss Christmas, that bursts into joy at its horn refrain.

3. Low

Just Like Christmas

Low’s 1999 Christmas EP – released as a “gift” to fans – was one of the most unexpected seasonal delights: ascetic indie band embracing the season without irony. Its lead track was a joy, the discomfort of touring reminding them of when they were young, and it feeling just like Christmas. Just two verses, and a repeated refrain – perfect.

2. The Pogues

Fairytale of New York

There’s almost nothing left to be said about Fairytale of New York, a song that has been impossible to avoid for more than 30 years. Such is the strength of the songwriting and the grace of the performance that, despite the overexposure, it feels fresh every single time. That a scrappy folk-punk band produced something that will endure as long as Christmas itself is a real Christmas miracle.

1. Mariah Carey

All I Want for Christmas Is You

The best Christmas songs should only work at Christmas. They should make you feel festive, in the same way that the 174th repeat of The Snowman does. They should work anywhere – in shopping centres, in bars, pumping out of PAs in gig venues after the band has gone off, on the radio in a cafe, in your home or on your headphones. All I Want for Christmas Is You is all of those things. It’s a shameless pastiche of Phil Spector that’s so brazen and joyful and simple – it took Carey and Walter Afanasieff only 15 minutes to write – that it transcends its lack of originality. It’s the rare modern Christmas song that has become a standard, and deservedly so.

GIG ETIQUETTE

1. People are at the show for different reasons and to have different experiences. Look around you: are people acting the way you want to act? If not, you’re probably in the wrong part of the room. If you want to flail wildly, please reposition yourself at the front of the stage, where others are likely to be flailing wildly. If you wish to stand still and listen intently, then take a position further back, rather than standing and tutting in the middle of the moshpit.

2. If you have come to the show to see your friends, and what is happening on the stage is of marginal interest to you, why not write off the cost of the ticket and go to the pub instead? You’ll be able to enjoy your conversation, and the people who’ve come to hear the music will be able to enjoy that, rather than your conversation.*

3. If you’re at a seated show, remember that no one around you can move. So if your behaviour is unpalatable, don’t be surprised if aggrieved patrons pick you up on it.

4. If you arrive at a gig early, you should of course feel perfectly entitled to stand anywhere you want. You’ve made the effort. If, however, you arrive two minutes before showtime, is it entirely reasonable to push your way to the front and centre, especially if you’re tall and thereby block the view of everyone behind you? It’s not, is it. Conversely, if you’re short and arrive early and stand at the back, there’s no point complaining when your sightline becomes obstructed as the evening wears on.

5. At outdoor shows, the nearer the front you are, the less reasonable it is to spread out with your friends, family and a picnic on a rug. There are tens of thousands of people present. They all want to get close to the stage, and it’s not fair to occupy half an acre with your sausage rolls when everyone around you is crammed in like sardines, especially if the first song is fast approaching. You’ve lost your right to complain when you get wellies wading through your sarnies if it’s five minutes to the show.

6. When at the bar, remember who was there before you. It’s just polite to let someone else get served if they’ve been there longer. Think how aggravated you get when others push in, before you do the same yourself.

7. Once you’ve been served, your drink is for drinking, not throwing. As ever, moshpit exceptions apply. If everyone is throwing their drinks in the air, what’s wrong with joining in? (As long as you don’t hit the band.) But if you’re at the back, watching your pint describe a perfect parabola as it soaks those underneath its flightpath, you are not just an arsehole, you’re a coward.

8. Still on the subject of drink: if you’re right in the middle of a packed crowd, in the middle of the show, think hard about whether you really need that extra drink. You’re going to have to barge past everyone to get to the bar, then barge past everyone to get back, then barge past everyone to go to the toilet 20 minutes later. Is it really worth that much inconvenience to you and them just to drink overpriced lager?

9. In general, singing along is fine. Not every time, of course – no one wants to hear Laura Marling drowned out by a lone, drunken, tuneless voice bellowing along. But a crowd joining in can be a magical moment. If someone is upset that you are ruining their recording of the show, tough luck for them.

10. And, yes, recording shows. Why not just watch the gig instead of holding aloft your phone to get a jerky picture, with terrible sound, that no one – including you – will ever want to see again? A show is a moment: live in the moment.

GREATEST DANCE TRACKS

50. Darude ‘Sandstorm’ [16 Inch Records], 1999

49. Age Of Love ‘Age Of Love’ [Diki], 1990

48. Chase & Status ‘Blind Faith’ [Ram], 2011

47. Jaydee ‘Plastic Dreams’ [R&S], 1992

46. Soulwax ‘NY Excuse’ [Pias], 2005

45. Josh Wink ‘Higher State’ [Strictly Rhythm], 1995

44. Groove Armada ‘Superstylin’ [Pepper], 2001

43. Frankie Knuckles/ Jamie Principle ‘Your Love’ [Persona], 1986

42. A Guy Called Gerald ‘Voodoo Ray’ [Rham!], 1988

41. LCD Soundsystem ‘Losing My Edge’ [DFA], 2002

40. Âme ‘Rej’ [Defected], 2006

39. Armand Van Helden ‘U Don’t Know Me’, [Armed], 1999

38. Justice ‘Phantom Pt 2’ [Ed Banger], 2007

37. Massive Attack ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ [Virgin], 1991

36. Noir And Haze ‘Around (Solomun remix)’ [Noir Music], 2011

35. The Future Sound Of London, ‘Papua New Guinea’ [Jumpin’ & Pumpin’ Records], 1991

34. Robin S ‘Show Me Love’ [Champion], 1993

33. Aphex Twin ‘Window Licker’ [Warp], 1999

32. Moby ‘Go’ [Outer Rhythm], 1991

31. Orbital ‘Chime’ [FFRR], 1990

30. Goldie ‘Inner City Life’ [FFRR], 1995

29. Larent Garnier ‘Man With The Red Face’ [F Communications], 2000

28. Rythim Is Rythim ‘Strings Of Life’ [Transmat], 1987

27. Benny Benassi ‘Satisfaction’ [D:vision], 2002

26. The Aztec Mystic ‘Knights Of The Jaguar’ [Underground Resistance], 1999

25. The Prodigy ‘Firestarter’ [XL], 1996

24. deadmau5 featuring Kaskade ‘I Remember’ [Mau5trap], 2008

23. Energy 52 ‘Café Del Mar’ [Eye Q/], 1993

22. The Prodigy ‘Out Of Space’ [XL], 1992

21. Above & Beyond ‘Sun & Moon’ [Anjunabeats], 2011

20. David Guetta ‘A Little More Love’ [Ultralab], 2001

19. Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love’ [Casablanca/GTO], 1977

18. New Order ‘Blue Monday’ [Factory], 1983

17. Swedish House Mafia ‘One (Your Name)’ [Polydor], 2010

16. Avicii ‘Levels’ [Universal], 2011

15. Daft Punk ‘Around The World’ [Virgin], 1997

14. Paul & Fritz Kalkbrenner ‘Sky And Sand’ [BPitch Control], 2009

13. Armin van Buuren feat Nadia Ali ‘Feels So Good’ [Armind], 2011

12. Silence (Tiesto remix) ‘Delerium’ [nettwerk], 1999

11. The Chemical Brothers ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’ [Freestyle Dust/Virgin], 1999

10. Fatboy Slim ‘Right Here, Right Now’ [Skint], 1999Released at the peak of the Skint Records-led big beat explosion, at a time when ‘You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby’ was elevating Norman Cook to superstar DJ, it’s now a universal anthem of strident empowerment.

9. Sasha ‘Xpander’ [deconstruction/BMG], 1999Progressive house was all but dead by 1999. Sasha and Charlie May resurrected the form triumphantly with the stunning surges and tidal melodies of Xpander, named after the analogue synth it was written on.

8. PVD ‘For An Angel’ [Deviant Records], 1998Originally from his PVD’s ’45 RPM’ album, it was rediscovered, toughened up and re-released as the ‘E-Werk Remix’ during the Gatecrasher-led late-’90s trance boom, becoming a scene-defining hit.

7. Plastikman ‘Spastik’ [Novamute], 1993,

He’s done so much but perhaps still Richie Hawtin’s greatest achievement, ‘Spastik’ is imperious, terrifying, the sound of a spitting, Touretting drum machine having a break down, a murderous, metallic jazz take on techno.

6. Stardust ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ [Roulé], 1998Improvised around a Chaka Khan guitar loop by French producer Alan Braxe and Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter, garnished with Ben Cohen’s rudimentary yet perfect vocals, Stardust proved that Bangalter had an uncanny ability to turn disco metal into crossover gold.

5. Faithless ‘Insomnia’ [Cheeky], 1995″Long build, big drop, big riff.” Faithless executed the blueprint so perfectly on Insomnia that they had to play it twice at every gig. An astonishing cocktail of Buddhist street poetry, piano house, orchestral pop and Euro-trance.

4. Underworld ‘Born Slippy’ [Junior Boys Own], 1995Before Trainspotting, this was originally a b-side, a seemingly uncommercial ten-minute mix of improvised, one-take lyrics and jackhammer beats. Last summer it featured in the Olympic opening ceremony.

3. The Prodigy ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ [XL], 1997The last of a trilogy of controversial singles which saw the Prodigy discussed in Parliament. Thrillingly combative street music, polished for so long it became raw again, beats sicker than a zombie orgy.

2. Tiesto ‘Adagio For Strings’ [Independance], 2004Barber’s classical Adagio was a deeply serious work. Tiesto, inspired by Ferry Corsten’s 1999 remix, collides brutal beats with lachrymose strings for an anthem which fanfared his rise to world’s biggest DJ.

1. Daft Punk ‘One More Time’ [2000 / Virgin]

Is it the loop? Slower than the average house tune, somehow the breathless, chiming slice of compressed euphoria seems to be constantly accelerating, pulling us along after it, further and higher into ecstasy. And then, just as you think you may smile yourself to death – boom! The bass and beat drop and we are off.

Is it that extended breakdown? So soon into the track that it’s almost the track itself, a confident inversion of the usual template that contributes to ‘One More Time’ being one of the single most suspenseful, dramatic slices of dance music ever made?

BEST HIP HOP ALBUMS OF 2019

1. Dave – Psychodrama

Dave - Psychodrama
MARCH 8, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
88
10 reviews

2. JPEGMAFIA – All My Heroes Are Cornballs

JPEGMAFIA - All My Heroes Are Cornballs
SEPTEMBER 13, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
14 reviews

3. Rapsody – Eve

Rapsody - Eve
AUGUST 23, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
7 reviews

4. Kano – Hoodies All Summer

Kano - Hoodies All Summer
AUGUST 30, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
12 reviews

5. Little Simz – GREY Area

Little Simz - GREY Area

MARCH 1, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
86
16 reviews

6. Tyler, the Creator – IGOR

Tyler, the Creator - IGOR

MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
85
21 reviews

7. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Bandana

JUNE 28, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
84
24 reviews

8. Maxo Kream – Brandon Banks

Maxo Kream - Brandon Banks
JULY 19, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
84
5 reviews

9. slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain

slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain

MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
83
16 reviews

10. Denzel Curry – ZUU

Denzel Curry - ZUU
MAY 31, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
82
10 reviews

11. Megan Thee Stallion – Fever

Megan Thee Stallion - Fever
MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
82
7 reviews

12. Danny Brown – uknowhatimsayin¿

Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin¿

OCTOBER 4, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
17 reviews

13. K.Flay – Solutions

K.Flay - Solutions
JULY 12, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
5 reviews

14. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

Lizzo - Cuz I Love You

APRIL 19, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
25 reviews

15. Injury Reserve – Injury Reserve

Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve
MAY 17, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
81
8 reviews

16. Malibu Ken – Malibu Ken

Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken
JANUARY 18, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
79
9 reviews

17. YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy

YBN Cordae - The Lost Boy
JULY 26, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
79
7 reviews

18. 2 Chainz – Rap or Go to the League

2 Chainz - Rap or Go to the League
MARCH 1, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
78
10 reviews

19. Quelle Chris – Guns

Quelle Chris - Guns
MARCH 29, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
78
5 reviews

20. Giggs – BIG BAD…

Giggs - BIG BAD...
FEBRUARY 21, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
78
6 reviews

21. Swindle – No More Normal

Swindle - No More Normal
JANUARY 25, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
77
7 reviews

22. Young Thug – So Much Fun

Young Thug - So Much Fun
AUGUST 16, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
77
9 reviews

23. Boogie – Everythings For Sale

Boogie - Everythings For Sale
JANUARY 25, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
77
8 reviews

24. Skepta – Ignorance is Bliss

Skepta - Ignorance is Bliss
MAY 31, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
76
14 reviews

25. Kevin Abstract – ARIZONA BABY

Kevin Abstract - ARIZONA BABY
APRIL 25, 2019
CRITIC SCORE
76
5 reviews

STARTING A BAND

Unsure of how to start a band?

Every musician has been there.

Before you’ve been in a few bands, creating one is an intimidating thought. You have no idea how to get the right people on-board or get the gigs you need.

So today, we’re going to go through each step, one at a time. 

Here’s the 10 steps it’ll take to start your own band…. TODAY.

But before we start, make sure to grab my FREE guide on 6 ways to overcome writer’s block.

It’ll help get you unstuck in the writing process when you’re feeling uninspired. You’ll be one step closer to writing better, more creative songs.

Grab it here:

FREE BONUS: Make your songs sound professional by using this free songwriting cheat sheet.

 

CONTENTS [SHOW]

STEP 1: Find Your Bandmates

The first thing you need to start a band? The members of the band.

Traditionally, you’ll need a drummer, a guitarist, a bassist, and a singer. 

But these days, your band can be made up of just about anything.Pianists, synth-players, horn players, and multi-instrumentalists are becoming more and more common. Many bands

even don’t use guitars anymore.

The only two instruments you should definitely consider having are a drumset (acoustic or electronic) and something to hold down the low end. This could be a bass guitar, an upright bass, a piano, or a synthesizer.

There are exceptions of course (The White Stripes, for instance), but these two instruments are very, very common.

Once you decide on the kind of musicians you need, it’s time to hit the pavement. 

One way to find your bandmates is to make posters. Design a simple poster that talks about your sound and what instruments you’re looking for. Have several tearable strips at the bottom with your name and phone number on them. 

You can also use social media. It’s a powerful communication tool when you’re trying to reach out to new people. Try putting the poster you made up on Facebook,Twitter, or Instagram. You could also post it in various local music groups on Facebook.

The strongest tool in your toolbox is your network. Ask your friends! See if they’d be interested in joining, or if they know anyone who would be a good fit. 

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to get the message out.

Before you decide to put someone in the band, get together and jam with them. See what their talent level is and if their style blends with your own.

Most importantly though, make sure that you have chemistry together. 

Your bandmates don’t have to be the best players in the world. That can come with time.

But you do all have to get along! 

You’ll be spending a huge amount of time with these people. Make sure you have enough of a rapport to stand being in the same room with them.

 

Step 2: Find Your Sound

The next step is to figure out what your “sound” will be.

This happens naturally over time, of course. But you can get a pretty good idea from the beginning if you’re intentional about it.

At your first band meeting, talk about your influences. Who are your favorite artists? What’ve you all been listening to recently? Are there any genres that you have in-common?

Your sound is likely going to be somewhere in-between those answers.

Make sure to check out any songs that your members have already written. What genre do they tend to write in? 

Finally, jam a little bit. What sound organically comes up? You’ll want to write in a genre that feels most natural to all your bandmates.

One important thing: make sure to pick a genre that your singer can sing well.

All instrumentalists can change their style and their gear with time. But singers have only one piece of gear – their voices.

So make sure to pick something that sounds good with what is arguably the most important part of every song!

 

Step 3: Find a Place to Practice

You’ve got a lot of options. Where do you have access to?

Basement?

Garage?

Church?

Music venue before hours?

Professional rehearsal space?

Storage cube?

You can get creative to find somewhere you can meet and get loud.

Just make sure the place won’t get you in trouble. After a few noise complaints to the police, you’ll get some serious fines if you keep practicing there.

If you’re meeting in a place that’s prone to this, try soundproofing the room.

 

Step 4: Start to Write Your Songs

Next: time to write some songs!

This is the exciting part. There’s nothing better than the artistic expression of creating something entirely new.

Go wild. Be as creative as you want.

Before you start, though…

Learn a few covers.

It may sound boring, but it’s important. You want to make sure your group has learned to play well together before you start writing.

It will make the entire process ten times easier.

Once you’ve learned to play nicely together, really dive into the writing process.

To headline a show, you’ll need around twelve songs at least. That should be your goal at first.

But don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. It’s more important to have six amazing songs than twelve average ones.

Take your time. You can always play opening gigs (or covers) until you’ve written the amount you need.

Once each song is written, make sure to get it copyrighted.

Doing that will keep your song from being stolen by anyone else. If someone plagiarizes your music, you will have the power of the law on your side.

It’s a simple process to do so. Head to your nation’s copyright office websiteand start to fill out the forms. 

Make sure to grab our FREE guide to writer’s block. When you and the rest of the band have gotten stuck, these strategies will absolutely help.

Download it here:

FREE BONUS: Make your songs sound professional by using this free songwriting cheat sheet.

 

Step 5: Come Up With A Cool Band Name

Time to head to the coffeehouse.

You can’t play shows until you come up with a band name. So while you’re writing songs, be brainstorming with your band members.

My favorite technique is to get everyone in a room and stream-of-consciousness-style name any combination of words you can think of. 

After an hour or two of this, you’ll have pages and pages of potential band names. A lot of them will be crap, but you’ll have ten or fifteen really great ones. 

If that doesn’t work for you, have your band members go through their music libraries. 

A lot of great band names are references to music they like. Maybe use a name that’s inspired by one of your favorite songs. If it’s fairly obscure, it’ll be seen as original by the music community.

Make sure to pick names that are short and easy to spell. As an added tip, I like to pick names that will show up easily on Google.

A favorite example of mine is my favorite childhood local band, The Wedding. They were an absolutely incredible rock band, but they suffered from having a nearly-unsearchable name. 

You could type in anything you wanted into Google – The Wedding, The Wedding Band, The Wedding Rock, The Wedding Music, The Wedding Fayetteville (my hometown) – but every single thing would come back with results on actual weddings. 

Try not to make the same mistake. Type your potential names into Google and see what comes up. If very little does… perfect. That’s a hole in the internet you can fill.

Once you’ve picked a few potential names, make sure to check if there are other bands with that name on Facebook, Soundcloud, or your nation’s trademark office. 

If you find anyone with your potential name on social media, see how many followers they have. My rule of thumb is that it’s less than 250, the name is safe. 

But if the name shows up in a trademark search, it’s undoubtedly off-limits. 

Also, make sure the URL for any potential band name is open. You don’t want to go all-in on a name, just to be unable to have any kind of web presence.

 

Step 6: Make a “Band Agreement”

In-fighting is the number one reason that bands break up.

Make sure you minimize the possibility of that by creating an agreement for each band member to sign.

This idea can freak many people out at first. “Why do I need to make a contract just to play with my friends?”

It’s not really about having a “contract.” It’s about splitting up responsibilities and resolving tension before it even happens.

It’s about setting some healthy precedents!

Make sure you don’t do this rightwhen the band is starting off, though. You don’t want to spook any potential members with important business decisions.

Here’s what you need to make sure is on the band agreement:

Time Commitment

First things first – agree on how committed each member of the band is.

How often will you be practicing? What are the expectations?

Do they need to come to practice already knowing the songs? Do they need to work their schedule around gigs?

Agreeing on this now will keep your band from resenting someone who didn’t show up to practice because they didn’t know what the expectations were.

Plus, if someone’s not holding up their end of the bargain, it helps to resolve conflict. You can easily say, “Hey, I know you haven’t been doing [x]. I understand that it’s tough to find time, but you did commit to this when we all signed the band agreement. We’re all in this together”

That’s a much easier sell than, “Hey, you haven’t been doing [x]. Dude, are you committed or what? Start doing it now.”

Remember: each band member needs to be putting in the same amount of work, and each band member needs to be able to make it to rehearsal!

Band Responsibilities

Next thing to do is to divide the responsibilities.

 

There’s a few roles that someone in the band needs to take.

First off, there’s the bandleader.

This person acts as the representative of the group. They’ll be talking to venues, labels, and journalists about the band.

They also have a little more power than the rest of the band roles. They can to hire or fire members. They’ll make the final decision if the band is split on something.

Ultimately, the buck stops with them. They’ve got more power, but also a lot of responsibility!

This person should be outspoken, passionate, and patient. Traditionally, the role of “bandleader” is usually the singer.

Next, there’s the rehearsal director.

This person organizes a schedule for each rehearsal and keeps the group focused during practice time.

They’ll also lead each rehearsal. The means while the band is practicing, they’ll be listening for notes on song arrangements or their performance.

As the band rehearses, they’ll dictate what needs to be focused on.

Oftentimes, this role is also handled by the bandleader. There are lots of exceptions, though.

The rehearsal director should be the one with the best “ears.” They’ll need to be performing and listening to their bandmates at the same time.

After that is the public relations manager. 

They’ll be in charge of your image, your brand, and any media your band needs.

They will schedule photoshoots, write bios, and create flyers.

Any kind of promotion your band needs will be their responsibility.

Finally, there’s the bookkeeper.

They keep track of all of the band’s finances for tax purposes.

They keep receipts and spreadsheets to keep the band on-budget whenever you are touring or purchasing gear.

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Those are the main 4 roles, but each band is different. Your band might have different needs. Do some brainstorming and make sure that each responsibility is being covered by someone!

Finances

This is a big one to iron out early so that fights don’t break out when you start to make a little money.

First off – who pays for what? 

Oftentimes a band will create a “pool” for expenses that each member contributes the same amount into.

Whenever something is bought, the money is reimbursed from that pool.

You can decide to do this however you want, but this is how I’d recommend it.

Next, what equipment do you need?

Decide on that early so that the band isn’t caught with unexpected expenses.

After that, how does each band member get paid?

Will you be paid by cash, check, or direct deposit? Does any money get taken out of each paycheck to go into the expense “pool?”

Your last question is this: Who owns the songs?

This is important to figure out early, because the person who owns the song gets the publishing royalties.

Some bands decide to split every song evenly between each band member.

Other bands decide that the person who writes the lyrics is the sole songwriter.

Another option is to make it a case-by-case basis. Maybe one of the songs is primarily written by two of the members. Maybe another song was written during a rehearsal that someone couldn’t make it to.

Be careful with choosing this last option. It’s so open ended that it could lead to disagreement. If you pick it, really try to define all of the possibilities so that you’ll know what to do when the time comes.

 

Step 7: Record a Demo

If you have the tech, then recording a demo or two is the next step.

You want to have something that you can send venues when looking for gigs. They need to be able to hear what you sound like if you ever want them to give you a shot.

Once you have a few songs recorded, it would be a good idea to edit them together into a 30-second mashup.

If the venue owner sees that the audio clip is short, he or she is more likely to listen to it.

If you’re wanting some help getting a good sound on those demos, check out our Demo to Pro course. 

It takes your songs from sounding like basement demos to radio-ready mixes. And if you’re wanting to send songs to promoters, you want them as close to radio-ready as possible!

Step 8: Pick Your Look

Your look is more important than you think.


A lot of beginner bands will wear whatever they feel like in their first few gigs.

If there’s not some level of consistency, it’s pretty jarring to the audience.

Remember: You are performers! You’re putting on a show. People need to be able to understand what your “deal” is throughout the show.

You don’t have to all be wearing the same thing. A uniform isn’t necessary (unless that’s what you’re going for).

There just needs to be a similar “vibe” across the band.

If most of the members are wear canvas shirts and jeans, but the singer is wearing a suit, it’s going to confuse the audience.

Or if most of the members are wearing black, but the drummer comes out in a bright blue polo and cargo shorts, no one’s going to understand what you’re going for.

Whatever you decide, embrace it. Commit to the characters you want to play.

If you do that, you’ll put on a killer show.

Step 9: Start Searching for Gigs

Once you’ve got your name, your look, and your songs, it’s time to start playing some shows.


To do that, you’ll need to convince venue owners to let you play there.

The first step is to build an Electronic Press Kit, or an EPK.

This is basically a music industry resume for bands.

Set up a simple website using WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix.

On the site, include these things:

  • Any music you have
  • Band photos, both from a photoshoot and from shows
  • Album art, if you’ve released anything
  • A bio about the band
  • Music videos if you have any, or videos of your band performing
  • Links to your social media, other websites, and places to buy your music
  • Flattering quotes from past press
  • The contact info for your band

The website needs to be presentable, but it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. The promoters you’ll be sending this to will care more about what’s in the EPK than how it looks.

Once you’ve built your EPK, then buy any equipment you’ll need to play a show. 

The equipment you should purchase will depend on your particular band’s needs. 

No matter what, make sure that everyone has some way to be amplified. Guitar amps for electric guitars and basses, pickups for acoustic guitars, and clip-on mics for strings or horns. 

If you’re using electronic elements, make sure that you have the necessary synths, programs, or drum pads to perform your stuff.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a spare PA. There will be lots of gig opportunities at the beginning that don’t have a PA for you to use. 

So not only can you get more gigs with a PA, you can charge more as well.

 

Step 10: Spread the Word

Once you’ve found some shows, it’s time to start promoting yourself.

This will be an all-hands-on-deck operation. You’ll need to be putting up posters, creating events on social media, and telling your friends. In fact, tell your friends to tell their friends.

You want as many people to show up at your first few shows as possible. That will show the venue owner that you can bring in some money, meaning they’ll invite you back again.

With a crowd, you’ll have the energy you need to have a killer performance!

 

BONUS: Look For Other Professionals

Once you start getting traction as a band, it’s time to get some new people on your team.

To grow as a band, you’ll need the expertise of others.

You’ll need a manager to handle the day-to-day tasks.

You’ll need a booking agent to help you get more gigs.

You’ll need an accountant to handle your now-more-complicated finances.

You might even need a marketing team to spread the word about your band.

Who you get is up to you. Some bands will even just get the advice of friends who have already done it.

Regardless of what you do, having a team is one of the best ways to grow your career. 

But don’t get them too early. Otherwise you’re just throwing away money.

Wait until you’re transitioning from garage band to featured performer. Then make it happen!

 

Conclusion: How to Start a Band

This seems like a lot of steps, but it’s actually a very simple process.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t start a band today. Go out there and make some music.

SHED SEVEN: A MAXIMUM HIGH

A Maximum High is the second studio album by the British rock band Shed Seven, released in April 1996 via Polydor Records. The album was written by all four band members at the time of release; Rick Witter, Paul Banks, Tom Gladwin and Alan Leach. The album title comes from lyrics in the song “Parallel Lines”.

Shed Seven held writing and rehearsal sessions at a local potato plant, RS Cockerill’s of York, prior to recording the album. One of the first tracks recorded, with their new producer Chris Sheldon, was the lead single, “Where Have You Been Tonight?”, written in late-1994 and debuting live at the band’s Christmas show on 23 December.[2] It was one of five tracks completed during a three-week recording session at RAK Studios in February 1995, before the band departed midway through the mixing process at Metropolis to embark on their first tour of Japan, satisfied with what they had achieved;

Along with the lead single, they completed a further four songs during their first stint in the recording studio; “This Day Was Ours”, “Bully Boy”, an untitled track, which was said to be the first Shed Seven song to feature drummer Alan Leach on lead vocals, and “Lies”. This version of “Lies” was previewed on an NME compilation cassette given away free with their 6 May 1995 issue, almost a year before the album was released. Following gigs in Spain and Japan, the band headed back to the studio in May 1995 to begin work on further material for inclusion on the album, which, at that point, was titled In Colour. Numerous tracks recorded in this period feature the highly renowned session musicians, The Kick Horns and The Phantom Horns, adding a brassier undertone to the featured songs and marking a notable change in sound to that of the band’s previous output.

BUYING A PIANO

People stumble on their search for a piano when:

1)  They haven’t decided if they really want to learn/play – If you ask most people if they would like to learn piano or like their progeny to learn piano, they will say, “yes, of course!” But most people leave it there. One of the most common things we see is people who sign their kids up for a month of lessons at the lowest price they can find, and then follow-up with the purchase of an inexpensive unweighted keyboard. And while some of these unweighted keyboards are incredibly impressive instruments with robust features, they sometime lack the real feel and response that help aid the learning process. After a month, the child/student hasn’t learned a thing and $200-300 could have been better spent. We discourage people from buying if they are don’t actually want to invest the time and money to learn. You have to decide whether you want to unlock the secret benefits of music, to which there are many!

2)  They don’t understand how much a piano costs to move and maintain – Professional piano movers and tuners are expensive. Locally, it costs, roughly, $200-400 to move an upright, and factors such as stairs and distance can increase the cost. If shipping from outside your city/state, greater distances across the US might set one back as much as $700-$2000+ and can take up to 3-4 weeks. A grand piano can cost between $300 – $1000+ to move locally depending on the logistics, and the cost of moving a grand nationally is $1000 – $2500+! Want to save money by using regular movers or doing it yourself? No worries, but please be aware of the costs if something goes wrong. Every finish nick will cost about $150 per, a broken pin block renders most pianos worthless, costing $8,000+ on high-end grands and being close to impossible on uprights. Tuning, a necessity after a move, costs between $100-$175 each visit and should be done at least once a year, ideally twice.

3)  They under-commit with lessons or quality of piano– This is similar to the first point but a little more nuanced. You can do one right and the other wrong and you are going to render your proper investment worthless. We sometimes see people buy very expensive grands, uprights or digital pianos, and when we ask them if they’re taking lessons, they say they’re using YouTube, going to teach themselves via a book or have a friend teach them. Usually, we offer a teacher referral at this point, with someone whom they can trial, unless the person is fine with the piano simply being a piece of furniture in the house (believe it or not, this is more common than not). We also see people sign up for lessons with a prestigious teacher in town, paying $100+/ per lesson but be concerned with spending too much on an instrument in case lessons don’t work out. The problem here is that the $100s of dollars spent on lessons ends up being a waste and costs the customer more than the savings that were made on the inexpensive instrument.

4)  They use “Grandma’s” piano – Now this is actually not always a bad thing as a family heirloom piano can sometimes be of excellent quality, especially when music runs in the family. Often, though, there are severe issues with the “family” piano. If the piano has tuning stability issues, the player will develop a bad ear. If it is missing strings, it is impossible to play many pieces. If the piano action is broken, the proper playing mechanics will not be developed and/or strange playing techniques will develop to compensate for the uneven action which will make playing on other instruments difficult.

5)  They don’t ask for their teachers advice – Teachers are a great source of information and guidance. They also usually have strong opinions on what is best for the student because of their method of teaching. The improper instrument then gets in the way of the relationship between the teacher and the learning/playing of music. Teachers are also great at sniffing on a good deal or a bad one for that matter.

6)  They buy a used piano with a critical flaw – Much like points 2 and 4, you don’t know what you don’t know. A $500 piano on Craigslist is a really good deal if it’s indeed a good deal. If it’s not, like when it’s got broken strings, pin-block, tuning stability issues or action issues, you are looking at a $700-1250 loss (how so? Well, you have to pay to get it to your house, get it tuned and then, finally and sadly, thrown away…we actually get paid to pick people’s junker pianos and dispose of them…it’s sadly somewhat expensive as you can’t put them in the regular trash.

7)  They don’t get buy-in from their significant other – Communication is key. We’ve seen many well intentioned future musicians not come to fruition because parents weren’t on the same page about the value of music for their children. One did it growing up and the other didn’t, so one wants to do the “trial” version and the other wants to take out a second mortgage on the house. Usually no one wins here. The other situation we see is that the child is asked to participate in the decision and they side-rail the whole expedition because it doesn’t look fun enough. Teachers and music stores can be great partners and helping parents convince their children that music is a journey they will never regret. Unless, of course, they don’t take it and then they’ll be another person telling us about how they wished their parents would have made them “stick with it” when they were growing up.

8)  They put it on-hold – The saddest story I remember hearing was a Dad who saw us at an outside piano sale event and he told us that he remembered when he’d almost bought this exact piano for his daughter when she was in high school. He said, “Wow! I can’t believe how much more expensive it is now and I regret not having done that for her. She really loved music so much and she doesn’t play anymore.” He talked about potentially buying it for her college graduation but said he “still needed to think about it”.

9)  They buy too quickly – And then they end up with issue 2, 3, 5, 6 and/or 7. The pain, money, and time spent increases and regret builds on an instrument that should bring joy and build memories in your home. You don’t think about the sound factor of an acoustic piano and realize that a weighted digital piano was probably a better choice for your situation. You don’t think to match the colors to your furniture and style. You buy a digital and you really wanted the feel and sound of an acoustic instrument. This list can go on for days, but doesn’t have to with an informed and well planned decision!

10)  They spend too much or too little – You can buy too much piano and you can buy too little piano. If you have a 4 year old beginner, a 9′ premium grand piano might be overkill. If you’ve been playing for 5+ years, a $1000 used spinet of $500 keyboard is going to hold you back as a musician and stunt your growth. The key is to make sure you understand where you are in your musical journey and where you want to go, so you get the right instrument, maximize your investment and save money and time. 

Use this list wisely! There are many factors that should be addressed when purchasing the right instrument, and if you just stop and breath for a moment, the right piano will let itself be known. We would also like to point you to our  Piano Buyer’s Guide as that will also give you further insight into how to approach the process. Good luck on your quest, and remember , “Play A Note, Change Your Life!”

BEST WHO ALBUMS

1Who’s Next

One of the few Rock N’Roll albums I would consider perfect!
It’s perfectly produced, perfectly performed, without fillers and full of astounding songs!new

Glad to see it at the top. Has many fabulous tracks on it like Baba o Riley, wont get fooled again and behind blue eyes which is also a lovely song. You can also relate to this album very easily…+10

Nothing with Keith Moon really disappointed me, but this album is definitely king to me. Amazing from start to finish, especially the opening and closing tracks(Baba O’ Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again). However, those two songs are certainly not the only good songs on this stellar album! Bargain, Behind Blue Eyes, Getting in Tune, etc. Like I said, it’s amazing from start to finish! – Metarock+3

I just listened to this album a couple hours ago. I can’t resist it. From songs like Wont get fooled again to getting in tune, every song is written with thought, meaning and endless expression. I’m glad this is at the top.+3

8 Comments

2Quadrophenia

Not only the best from The Who, but a contender for best album ever. The story, the horns, the flow, it all works. Pete Townshend outdid himself with this one, and the band was clearly at their peak. Listen to “The Real Me” and find out why the John Entwistle/Keith Moon combination has no equal. You can’t even call them a “rhythm section” as throughout the album either took the lead on many tunes.+3

A work of genius… A phenomenal work. Pete Townshend made the definitive story of alienated youth. just the sad opening of 5.15 draws you in and breaks your heart. this is a must if you have not heard this record. the film, Quadrophenia is a must see also. the gifted Phil Daniels and Ray Winstone (two of England’s working class actors) bring a whole new meaning to the music. but hear the album first. keith moon’s drumming is truly a work of art in itself.+4

Every part of it is AMAZING. The Who at their peak of music making and playing.+5

It’s amazing how an album can speak so much to you. This album is an extraordinary artistic description of being young and an important piece of rock history.+1

8 Comments

3Tommy

It’s a masterpiece and one of the greats rock albums of all time in my opinion and definitely the who’s best album with who’s next just behind it as the 2nd best and Quadrophenia 3rd best.+1

It is very underrated. I love Quadrophenia and Who’s Next obviously, but people need to know how close Tommy comes to latter. Every second is just perfectly composed. A true gem in the genre of Hard Rock.+8

see me. feel me. 
touch me. heal me. 

lisening to you… 

that deaf dumb and blind kid, sure plays a mean pinball!

how can he be saved. from the eternal grave. 

I’m the gypsee. the acid queen.
you get the picture.+3

More fun (and bonkers) than Quadrophenia. Plenty of filler, but I like the good stuff just as much as the more consistent Who’s Next. This was my introduction to the band and really snagged me.+4

9 Comments

4The Who Sell Out

This album is the product of a young Pete Townshend breaking out of his creative shell. The appreciation of pirate radio stations is brilliant conceptual work. The songs are written well, and some are quite humorous.+4

Excellent album. The unreleased songs off the deluxe edition are a must to hear!+1

I’m surprised this is not among the top 3 

5My Generation

Way ahead of its time! 

6Who Are You

This album is, for some inexplicable reason, ALWAYS underrated on best of lists. This is totally wrong, as it is one of their absolute finest. Daltrey, Entwistle and Townshend are all at the top of their game here, and Moon’s much discussed decline is nowhere near as bad as people make out. John’s 3 contributions are three of his best and Pete’s different writing styles all work beautifully. This band was always much more than just blunt headed power, and their various other sides come together magnificently on Who Are You. Listen to it again.+1

I really like this album, it is different from their other ones. New song, Sister disco, trick of the light, and of course who are you are the hits of the album. Released on August 18 1978, Keith is sitting on a chair labeled “NOT TO BE TAKEN AWAY” Eirely, Keith died less than a month later on September 7th.+3

7A Quick One (Happy Jack)

It’s not as good as the Tommy Who’s Next Quadrophenia trilogy but it comes in close fourth.+2

8The Who by Numbers

This deserves much more praise. In a hand or a face, slip kid, and however much I booze are masterpieces, there are only two songs that I dislike in the album.+3

My favorite, it is often overlooked+1

I love this one, squeeze box and slip kid are terrific tunes. 

Underrated+1

1 Comment

9Live at Leeds

This and Deep Purple’s Made in Japan are two of the best live performances I’ve ever heard. – Metarock+2

Best Live Rock Album of all time from the greatest live act of all time. You can never beat that, centuries from now people will watch this with awe and wonder why they were so underrated.+3

Got this because heard nothing but good things about this album and I’m literally in awe. It’s so incredible, I don’t even think words can describe it.+3

This is a really great live album, even if the magic bus is 8 minutes, not even mention my generation totaling a whopping 14 minutes and 27 seconds long.+1

10It’s Hard

Underrated album with some excellent songs. Perhaps not their best work but well worth a listen the whole way through 

The Contenders

11The Kids Are Alright
12Face Dances

You better you bet is a really good catchy song.+1

13A Quick One
14Magic Bus
15Endless Wire

Love how mature this album is. I wish they just released it as the boy who heard music instead of going the whos next route oh well still rocks 

16Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970
17Odds and Sods

Naked Eye and Pure And Easy are 2 of their best songs ever+3

18Greatest Hits Live
19Then & Now

This album has one of their finest. Real Good Looking Boy is great. 

20Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy

Even though this is a compilation album, every song on this album is perfect.+2

21Thirty Years of Maximum R&B
22Live At Hull 1970

POST MALONE

samurai sword fight.

BLUR: THERES NO OTHER WAY

  • Blur lead singer Damon Albarn wrote this. It was part of a new category of music in England called “Indie-dance,” a combination of dance and alternative music that many bands were attempting.
  • This was the first Blur song produced by Stephen Street. Street had previously worked with The Smiths and would continue working with Blur.
  • This was Blur’s second single in England and first in the US. They tried to break into America by touring there in 1992, but it was a disaster.
  • After recording it as a demo, Blur thought of “There’s No Other Way” as being nothing more than an eventual B-side. Their management however was convinced about the potential of the song as forced the band to release it as the main single. >>